Are Subdomains Bad for SEO?

What is a subdomain? Are Subdomains Bad for SEO?

Have you ever wondered why subdomains are considered bad for SEO? Maybe if you are an SEO expert then you must be familiar with this myth that subdomains can damage your website’s SEO.

The real question is, is that even true?

Let’s dig deeper in this post whether subdomains affect SEO or it’s just a myth.  Let me first explain a few key terms that our non-technical users don’t know.

What is a subdomain?

Any domain that has been created in a subdirectory of a parent domain considered as a subdomain. Here is an example of a subdomain: (subdomain)

In the above example,  we have a root domain ( The webmaster differentiates a blog from the official ( website. So, he created a subdomain as

What is a root domain?

A domain which is highest in the hierarchy of a website is considered as a Root Domain. Here is an example of a root domain:

Are Subdomains Bad for SEO?

It is a question that has been asked by so many times by my clients. Googlebot considered subdomain as a new domain. Google does not associate subdomains to root domain.

For example, if your root domain has a high domain authority and now that you create a subdomain to start a blog or a shop on a subdomain, then your subdomain has got no domain authority. You are almost starting a new website.

Although, you can create links between the root domain and subdomain. It doesn’t mean that it would give your new subdomain the same authority as the root domain. Maybe it will improve your subdomain authority to some degree but your subdomain won’t have an exact root domain authority.

Should you use a subdomain?

It is up to you whether to use a subdomain on your website or not. If started as a new website, subdomains can be ranked high in search results. However, to rank a subdomain, you have to SEO it from the ground up.

The best scenario and most recommended by every top blogger and SEO expert is to use one domain to manage all your website. You can create different pages/posts on 1 domain to differentiate them from one another.

The best way to do it before starting your new website. You should develop a structure of your website on a piece of paper or use any mind mapping software. Map pages you would create on the website and structure them in a way that is easier to understand for your target user. This will help your website’s users to easily navigate the website. Also, Google and other search engines love websites with good navigation structure.

Should I use “Noindex/nofollow” tag or use password protection? Is it going to affect the root domain?

You can use both methods. However, the most recommended method is to always protect your development site with a password. It will tell Googlebot that this website is not intended to get indexed in the search results. If somehow, your development subdomain gets indexed in the search, you can always remove your website from the search results. And no, as I wrote earlier in the post, your subdomain is considered a different domain by Googlebot. It shouldn’t affect your root domain ranking.

I hope this answered your question. Let me know if you have specific questions about root domains and subdomains in the comments.

If you need help with SEO or reputation management then please feel free to send me a message.

5 thoughts on “What is a subdomain? Are Subdomains Bad for SEO?”

  1. Dear Azib,

    My job is to redesign an existing and well established non-profit website; the domain name remains unchanged even with the new release. The new domain should be installed on a subdomain during the design process, since other people are involved and the site must be accessible online.

    Now my question: if I set the subdomain to “noindex / nofollow”, will this also negatively affect the main domain? Or is it better to protect the complete subdomain with a password protection?

    Thank you in advance for your inspiration!
    Kind regars,

  2. Hey,
    I am planning to open a forum for my blog but I am confused whether open as subdomain or subdirectory?
    My aim to open a forum is to increase ranking and traffic for my primary domain. Can you help me out?

  3. I was also wondering about the same thing that dave mentioned, will adding a ‘nofollow’ to the sub-domain affect the main domain in any way or will it hurt the rankings?

  4. I use password protection to keep crawlers away. A subdomain counts as a separate domain altogether by Google. So, I don’t think adding a ‘noindex’ tag will impact your root domain ranking in any way. I will also update this post with a detailed answer.

  5. Thanks for your article. The question of “will a subdomain pick up authority from the root domain” was a big unanswered question for me. I’m in the process of doing specific lead gen for my main site and was hoping the subdomain would have some of the authority of the main, so I didn’t have to start from scratch and could utilize the 3+ years of SEO work I’ve been doing. Looks like I’ll be going the sub directory route (somehow) so I don’t have to start over from scratch.

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